Today, many organisations voluntarily embrace public reporting of their health and safety risk management (proactive data) and work-related injury and illness (reactive data), information that is increasingly required in non-financial reporting, to better inform their stakeholders.
IOSH advocates meaningful, comparable and reliable occupational safety and health performance reporting (both leading and lagging) in internal and public annual reports, as a material topic and driver for benchmarking, continual improvement and sustainability. Transparency on human capital issues enables stakeholders, including workers, customers, investors, insurers, regulators and civil society, to assess performance, make informed decisions and support delivery of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
- Many organisations recognise the benefits of voluntarily publicly reporting on health and safety risk management, increasingly required in non-financial reporting.
- Good external occupational safety and health (OSH) performance reporting is increasingly considered good practice, helping demonstrate commitment to continual improvement and transparency.
- IOSH first began to make the case that OSH is ‘material’ to employers’ performance and reporting in a 2003 submission to the UK’s Operating and Financial Review
- IOSH then co-founded the Center for Safety & Health Sustainability to advance global OSH and contributed to ‘The Accounting Revolution and the New Sustainability…’, highlighting human and social capital, and to guidance on OSH in sustainability reports.
- Corporate reporting varies – for example, research has shown considerable scope for improving OSH reporting in large UK companies and public bodies, particularly on performance and targets 1, 2 and, more recently, in sustainability indices.
- Since 2013, in the UK certain listed companies have been required to include social issues in their narrative reporting. In 2015 anti-slavery disclosure requirements were introduced and in 2016 EU non-financial reporting requirements for around 500 UK organisations were introduced.
- Reporting models such as the Global Reporting Initiative, Integrated Reporting and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals support calls for human capital accounting.
- IOSH was pleased to be in the 2018 project work group that developed the Global Reporting Initiative’s sustainability reporting standard GRI 403: 2018 on OSH.
- IOSH continues to champion raising awareness of the linkages between OSH, human capital and sustainability.
Occupational safety and health is a material issue for all organisations and central to transparency, social licence to operate and delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Increasingly, employers and administrations are taking a more positive approach to transparency, recognising OSH as fundamental to human capital management, social value and long-term decision-making.
IOSH advocates for the use of consistent, comparable and reliable OSH performance data, both leading and lagging, in internal and public annual reports. We believe the focus should be on high-quality indicators that are helpful to the organisation and its stakeholders and support improved risk management and OSH performance.
Organisations should aspire to more informative reporting – using a balanced approach with mixed OSH performance indicators (leading and lagging) and best practice public reporting standards, including those for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. We would also like to see the OSH content of sustainability and socially responsible investment indices strengthened.
We believe OSH performance information should be easy to access and meaningful, providing quality, comparability and reliability. We would welcome more external verification and reporting to reflect key directors’ OSH duties – for example, see UK and EU guides and international standard ISO 45001. IOSH actively supports the CSHS work programme and promotes improved and standardised OSH metrics in combined reports (see GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety 2018).
IOSH advocates a transparent, human-centred approach that properly values the role of OSH in developing and protecting human and relationship capital. It is important that workers are recognised as material to organisational success and sustainability, with people positioned at the heart of the agenda, and that this is reflected in national and corporate reporting.
Guides and online tools:
- IOSH’s Competency framework supports delivery of an organisational sustainability agenda, including competencies for ethical business practice, human capital management, financial sustainability and community impact.
- IOSH, as a founding member of the Center for Safety & Health Sustainability, promotes improved and standardised OSH metrics in combined reports (see CSHS guides Current Practices in OHS Sustainability Reporting and CSHS Best Practice Guide for OHS Sustainability Reports).
- Review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive, European Commission, 2020.
- Human Capital Indicators, UK Office for National Statistics, October 2019.
- Building a regulatory framework for effective stewardship – Discussion Paper DP19/1. IOSH response to the Financial Conduct Authority and Financial Reporting Council discussion paper consultation, April 2019.
- Social & Human Capital Protocol and Charter, November 2018.
- Non-Financial Reporting Directive call for views on effective reporting alongside proposals to implement EU requirements consultation, UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills, 2016.
- Corporate Human Rights Benchmark consultation, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, 2015.
- Consultation on transparency in supply chains in the Modern Slavery Bill, UK Home Office, 2015.
- The future of narrative reporting – a consultation, UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills, 2010.
- Leading health and safety at work actions and good practice for board members, Institute of Directors/Health and Safety Commission, 2007.
- Draft Regulations on the Operating and Financial review and Directors’ report, UK Department of Trade and Industry, 2004.
- The Operating and Financial Review (OFR) Working Group on Materiality,UK Department of Trade and Industry, 2003.